9 Apr 2015

Bridge double-laning never option - iwi

7:18 pm on 9 April 2015

A Te Roroa elder says there's no way his iwi would have let the government chop down kauri to build a bridge promised to Northland in last month's by-election.

The Darby and Joan bridge in Waipoua kauri forest is on the list of ten one-way bridges National said it would upgrade.

Gary Hooker, who was one of the negotiators of the Te Roroa Treaty settlement, said National never asked what iwi thought. .

He said if it had, it would have discovered the bridge could not be double-laned because it is flanked by two iconic kauri, and the only way to widen the bridge would be to cut one, or both, down.

Mr Hooker said Te Roroa would never allow that.

The Prime Minister has since said the trees would not be cut down, but has not said what will happen to the bridge.

Mr Hooker said if the government had consulted the iwi as it is obliged to under the Treaty settlement, it could have avoided going off half-cocked and then looking silly.

The Darby and Joan bridge was built when the road through Waipoua Forest was sealed in the 1990s, and won an environmental award for its design, which protect the roots of the kauri on either side.